Pulau Kukup: From National Park to Sultanate Land?

10 December 2018

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PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today defended one of his Cabinet members after the Johor crown prince accused Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar of interfering in the state’s affairs.

The prime minister was responding to comments by Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who said the issues surrounding the development of Pulau Kukup were not for the federal government to decide.

Mahathir denied that Putrajaya had intruded into Johor’s affairs.

“We have not touched on the Sultan,” he told reporters today.

“All we have touched is that Pulau Kukup should not be developed, (and) it should remain as a forest reserve, particularly as it is, a special mangrove forest.

“We don’t want the mangrove forest to be cut down for development. It may be sultanate land, but it cannot be developed,” he said.

Yesterday, Tunku Ismail called Xavier an “outsider”, saying his ministry had no jurisdiction “to override the Johor State Constitution”.

“The only one who can change the constitution is the Ruler. The letter Johor have issued is clear that Pulau Kukup will remain protected as a National Park,” he said.

He said Johor would deal with the issue in “our own ways”.

“This is Johor, where there is a Constitution that existed even before Malaysia was formed,” said TMJ.

Mahathir today said Putrajaya was responsible for the whole of Malaysia.

“Malaysians are not outsiders, the federal government are not outsiders,” said Mahathir.

“We are responsible for all the things that happen in the whole country.”

The Cabinet has earlier decided that Pulau Kukup would remain a national park.

9 December 2018

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Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has criticised Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar for insisting that the status of Johor’s Pulau Kukup as a national park must be retained.

This was after the Johor government revealed that the previous government had degazetted Pulau Kukup as a national park and will classify it as sultanate land.

“I posted a letter from the Johor state government that was also signed by His Majesty that stated that it will fall under sultanate land, but it remains a national park.

“Its usage and protection does not change. What is it so hard to understand (sic)?” he said in a statement on Facebook today.

The move to degazette Pulau Kukup means that it loses its legal status as a national park. Its continued use as such will be at the pleasure of the Johor ruler who owns the sultanate land.

Xavier had issued the statement after the cabinet decided that Pulau Kukup should remain a national park.

However, Tunku Ismail said “outsiders” should not interfere in Johor’s affairs.

“First of all as an outsider, you don’t need to meddle on matters related to Johor,” he said.

“Secondly, no matter what statement or letter is issued, you have no jurisdiction to override the Johor state constitution.

“The only one who can change the constitution is the ruler. The letter Johor has issued is clear that Pulau Kukup will remain protected as a national park.”

Tunku Ismail also claimed that the Pulau Kukup issue was being turned into a “distraction.”

“Don’t use issues like this as a deception to divert attention because you are not performing. So that is why I have been saying from before, just focus on the progress of the nation.

“There is no need to be fighting here and there,” he said.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/455426

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Excerpt from:

As controversial as it may be, this move if done right might be a game changer for the betterment of our environment. The Johor Royal House, after all, did confirm that Pulau Kukup will remain and continue to be used as a state national park where it must be guarded and regulated to become a state tourist attraction.

Similarly, in the north, we have the Royal Belum State Park that was conferred the royal status by the late Sultan Azlan Shah back in 2003 as a form of appreciation and recognition of the importance of the park to the sultanate and its people.

The “royal” title is not a mere title or another form of lip service. It gives nuance to the importance and significance of the conferred entity. The closest example is our Royal Malaysia Police that was conferred the title “royal” on July 24, 1958, as a tribute and appreciation for their commitment against the communist insurgency.

One can only hope that the royal title will provide Pulau Kukup its due protection. Declaring national parks as sultanate land could finally provide us with a right check and balance mechanism where state governments can no longer degazette national parks, green lungs and forest reserves for development according to their whims and fancies.

The practice of developing forest and green lungs has been rampant and we have witnessed it many times before. The Selangor state government degazetted parts of Selangor State Park for the construction of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), Bukit Cerakah and Sungai Buloh forest reserve for the Damansara Shah Alam Highway (DASH) and Bukit Sungei Puteh forest in Hulu Langat for the Sungai Besi Ulu Kelang Highway (SUKE), regardless of public outcry.

And most recently, another exercise to degazette a part of the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve in Gombak for a housing development project is ongoing. Not to mention the DBKL’s plan to develop Bukit Kiara despite the area being intended as a green lung of Kuala Lumpur.

For far too long, sustainability and environmental conservation have been put on the back burner or seen as something ideal but not essential. If this is what it takes to save our environment from state governments’ arbitrary move to degazette the parks and forest reserves in the future, by all means, we should welcome this new form of check and balance.

After all, the Johor Royal House did play an active role in preserving the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in Mersing. The area has vastly improved after the rebranding exercise and preservation efforts, making it one of the top attraction for scuba divers.

Preservation efforts include approval and quota for diving activities, coral restoration programme that was participated by the sultan himself and strict enforcement against the encroachment of illegal fishermen are designed to help protect the pristine waters and maintain the right ecological balance for flora and fauna to grow in their natural environment.

Soon, the marine park will also have its very own dugong sanctuary at Pulau Sibu.

Call me an idealist but for the love of the environment, I believe that this model is our best bet available to protect our environment against the state government’s monstrosity. And since there has been a success story with the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park, I believe the best thing for Pulau Kukup is to be gazetted as a royal national park.

Brian Lee is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2018/12/09/sultanate-land-may-be-our-best-hope-to-preserve-our-parks/

8 December 2018

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7 December 2018

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Tunku Mahkota Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim melahirkan rasa tidak puas hati baginda terhadap pihak tertentu yang didakwa cuba ‘menukar’ menteri besar Johor.

Menulis di laman Twitter, baginda mengingatkan bahawa Johor masih mempunyai seorang sultan yang memerintah.

“Kamu bukan perdana menteri. Apa yang membuatkan kamu berfikir dengan cuba melobi mempunyai menteri besar yang akan menjadi boneka, kamu boleh menguasai Johor?

“Kamu melobi seorang daripada exco kami untuk jadi MB (menteri besar). Kami tahu. Ini bukan lagi tahun 1992. Negeri Johor masih ada sultan yang memerintah,” ciapnya.

Meskipun tidak menyebut sebarang nama, Tunku Ismail jelas merujuk kepada anggota Majlis Tertinggi Bersatu, A Kadir Jasin yang mendesak Menteri Besar, Osman Sapian menjelaskan mengenai penukaran status Pulau Kukup sebagai sebuah taman negara.?
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Pada 5 Disember lalu, Tunku Ismail menjelaskan bahawa pembatalan pewartaan Pulau Kukup sebagai taman negara yang dilindungi adalah supaya membolehkan ia diklasifikasikan sebagai tanah kesultanan.

Titah baginda, tindakan itu supaya kawasan hutan bakau tersebut akan lebih terjaga dan dilindungi selepas statusnya diubah.

Namun, sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) semalam  meluluskan usul tergempar agar Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan (MMK) Negeri Johor mengkaji semula status Taman Negara Pulau Kukup.

Ini walau bagaimanapun dikritik oleh Tunku Mahkota Johor yang mendakwa ada pihak cuba mempolitikkan isu itu kerana hal-ehwal mengenai tanah adalah di bawah bidang kuasa kerajaan negeri.

Osman hari ini dipetik sebagai berkata, kerajaan negeri akan menyatakan pendiriannya berhubung kedudukan Pulau Kukup, Pontian sebagai Taman Negara pada sesi penggulungan Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), Ahad ini.

Katanya, kesempatan sesi itu turut akan digunakan oleh beliau untuk menjawab segala persoalan yang dibangkitkan wakil rakyat dalam perbahasan mereka.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/455177

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JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor government will state its stand on the status of Pulau Kukup as a national park during the winding-up debate at the state assembly on Sunday.

Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said he would also use the sitting to answer all questions raised by assemblymen in their debate speeches.

“Two executive councillors have not given their winding-up speeches.

“I will speak after the two have spoken and answer whatever questions raised by the assemblymen,” he said after launching the Back to School and Baiti Jannati programmes organised by Tenaga Nasional Berhad here today.

Osman was commenting on the status of Pulau Kukup, which has become a hot subject among the people after the gazette on the cancellation of Pulau Kukup as a national park was disseminated via social media three days ago.

Earlier, State Islamic Religious Affairs and Education Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan claimed his committee was not aware of the cancellation of the reserve even though it was gazetted on Sept 24.

According to Aminolhuda, the approval for the cancellation was made at an executive council meeting by the previous government in March.

Yesterday, the Johor assembly passed an emergency motion for the Johor state government to review the status of the Pulau Kukup National Park.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/12/07/johor-govt-to-state-stand-on-pulau-kukup-status-on-sunday/

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TO politicians, civil servants and businessmen who are being investigated or are already in the docks, this is what I have to say to them. You harvest what you sowed.

If you sowed good seeds and you tended to your garden well you will harvest a good crop. But if you sowed bad seeds and you sold the subsidized fertilizers, your crop will wither and all that you have to harvest is weed.

And if you sow the wind and you must be prepared to harvest the storm and the roiling seas.

So much for being philosophical. Now for the hard stuff.

Tanah Raja

I would like to ask the Menteri Besar of Johor, Datuk Osman Sapian, if he was telling me the truth when he told me before the start of the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Supreme Leadership Council meeting on November 28 that the Palace did not interfere with the administration of the state.

I asked him if there is truth to the rumours that the Palace was taking state lands – even those measuring as little as half an acre.

He said no. But said he wouldn’t know if such a thing happened during the last (Barisan Nasional) state government.

I reminded him that he was a member of the BN state government for three terms – from 1999 to 2013. It was only in the May 9 general elections that he contested as a candidate of Pakatan Harapan.

So I am surprised to read media reports that quoted the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, as saying that the Kukup Island had been taken over and is now the sultanate land – tanah raja.

There is no need to beat around the bush. I would like to ask Osman and his PH colleagues if this is true and legal.

If the PH state government under Osman approved this deal then it is no better than the last BN government.

If Osman can’t explain to the satisfaction of the people who voted him and the PH in seven months ago then he should consider resigning.

-https://kadirjasin.blogspot.com/

https://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/?p=146509

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6 December 2018

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https://www.change.org/p/duli-yang-maha-mulia-sultan-ibrahim-ibni-almarhum-sultan-iskandar-save-pulau-kukup-national-park?recruiter=60434379&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi.pacific_email_copy_en_us_3.control.pacific_post_sap_share_gmail_abi.control.pacific_email_copy_en_gb_4.v1.pacific_email_copy_en_us_5.v1.lightning_2primary_share_options_more.control

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ISKANDAR PUTERI: The Johor state assembly has passed an emergency motion to discuss the degazetting of Pulau Kukup as a national park.

The motion was brought by Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim during the state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Ismail here on Thursday (Dec 6).

State Speaker Suhaizan Kaiat approved the emergency motion, as it adheres to the house rules and received majority support from the assemblymen.

It was reported that Pulau Kukup, one of the few remaining pristine wetlands in South-East Asia, may lose its status as a fully protected national park, as the state government is said to be degazetting the law that gives it that status.

Concerns were sparked on Oct 25 on social media that the state authorities will cancel the whole area as a national park under subsection 3(3) of the National Park Environment Enactment (Johor) 1989.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/12/06/johor-passes-emergency-motion-to-discuss-loss-of-pulau-kukup-national-park/

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The Pakatan Harapan-controlled Johor state assembly has passed an urgent motion for the state government to review the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup’s national park status.

Khairudin A Rahim (Senggarang-Amanah) had moved the motion this morning. More than 10 assemblypersons stood up in support for the matter to be debated.

Following the debate, the House approved and passed the motion.

The motion argued that since Pulau Kukup contained the world’s second-biggest mangrove forest island and was ratified as a Wetlands of Importance International site (RAMSAR), it should not be de-gazetted.

Yesterday, Johor exco member Aminolhuda Hassan said the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup’s national park status was done by the previous BN state government.

A circular sighted by Malaysiakini stated it was to facilitate the land to be registered under the name of Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar circular.

This has been confirmed by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who assured that Pulau Kukup would continue to function as a park.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/454958

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Lawyers for Liberty advisor N Surendran has called on Pakatan Harapan to cease shirking its responsibilities over the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup’s national park status.

He said that while the initial decision was that of the former BN government’s, the actual de-gazetting order was only issued by Pakatan Harapan in September.

“This transparent bid to shift the blame to the BN is unacceptable.

“While it is true that the BN state government made the decision to de-gazette Pulau Kukus (sic) in March 2018, they are not responsible for the actual de-gazetting. The de-gazetting order was made by the Harapan state authority on September 24, 2018, through Gazette No.3808.

“This was done more than four months after the fall of the BN state government.

“Hence, de-gazetting was the act of the PH state government, and not BN,” the former PKR lawmaker claimed in a statement today.

Surendran questioned why steps were not taken to reverse the decision.

Hence, he said, it was now the duty of the current state government to revoke or reverse the de-gazetting, and restore the status of the Johor island as a national park.

He also called on the federal government to “waste no time” in stepping in to preserve the island, by invoking the National Heritage Act 2005.

He said: “Under the Act, any site which has ‘natural heritage’ may be declared a ‘heritage site’ by the Commissioner of Heritage.

“Natural heritage under the Act includes any ‘natural sites of outstanding value’; Pulau Kukup clearly qualifies to be a heritage site.

“The Act can be invoked irrespective of who owns the land now.”

https://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/?p=146438

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Lawyers for Liberty advisor N Surendran has called on Pakatan Harapan to cease shirking its responsibilities over the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup’s national park status.

He said that while the initial decision was that of the former BN government’s, the actual de-gazetting order was only issued by Pakatan Harapan in September.

“This transparent bid to shift the blame to the BN is unacceptable.

“While it is true that the BN state government made the decision to de-gazette Pulau Kukus (sic) in March 2018, they are not responsible for the actual de-gazetting. The de-gazetting order was made by the Harapan state authority on September 24, 2018, through Gazette No.3808.

“This was done more than four months after the fall of the BN state government.

“Hence, de-gazetting was the act of the PH state government, and not BN,” the former PKR lawmaker claimed in a statement today.

Surendran questioned why steps were not taken to reverse the decision.

Hence, he said, it was now the duty of the current state government to revoke or reverse the de-gazetting, and restore the status of the Johor island as a national park.

He also called on the federal government to “waste no time” in stepping in to preserve the island, by invoking the National Heritage Act 2005.

He said: “Under the Act, any site which has ‘natural heritage’ may be declared a ‘heritage site’ by the Commissioner of Heritage.

“Natural heritage under the Act includes any ‘natural sites of outstanding value’; Pulau Kukup clearly qualifies to be a heritage site.

“The Act can be invoked irrespective of who owns the land now.”

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/454937

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Johor Crown Prince Tengku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has chastised those who politicise the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup’s national park status, which he said will now be sultanate land.

“I don’t understand why this issue is being played up and politicised.

“Land matters are the exclusive right of the state government,” Tengku Ismail said on Twitter last night.

He added that whatever Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and the Johor government decide is in the state’s best interests.

Tengku Ismail also said that Pulau Kukup would remain as a national park.

The crown prince said this in response to a social media user who chided him for claiming to be behind the current success of Malaysian football.

“Claim it Tuanku. Just as you have claimed Pulau Kukup,” social media user Duke of KL said in reply to Tengku Ismail’s tweet on football.

Meanwhile, a different social media user going by the name Musulman tweeted to Tengku Ismail seeking an audience for nature lovers with Sultan Ibrahim to get assurance that Pulau Kukup’s ecosystem will be protected.

He replied, saying: “Yes. His Majesty and myself will be more than happy to meet them. Anytime.”

Malaysiakini reported on Tuesday that Pulau Kukup had been de-gazetted as a national park.

In response to this, Tunku Ismail said the park would be converted to sultanate land and protected, similar to the crown parks in the United Kingdom.

It has since been revealed that the de-gazetting of Pulau Kukup was decided in March, when BN was still in control of Johor.

The current Pakatan Harapan state government has claimed to be in the dark over the matter.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/454924

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5 December 2018

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